Elections 2017

Trendsetters who put Kenya on global map

Deputy President William Ruto, Governors Jackson Mandago and Stephen Sang celebrate with Eliud Kipchoge in Vienna after yesterday’s historic race. [Reuters]

From the track to international movies and environmental conservationists, Kenyans have produced some of the world’s finest souls.

And yesterday, marathoner Eliud Kipchoge - in a class of his own -- rose to the top of this exclusive club after shattering the INEOS1:59 challenge in Vienna, Austria.

His 1:59:40:2 record achievement in the INEOS 1:59 Challenge saw him earn global acclamation, with people putting aside their variables of race, religion, colour and nationality in celebration of human feat.

He has no match either in Kenya or the world. Those who have scraped close to this feat include the late Prof Wangari Maathai, who in 2004 pulled a surprise Nobel Peace Prize win in Stockholm, Sweden, for her unwavering dedication to environmental conservation.

Wangari was awarded for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace; making her the first African woman to receive the prize.

In football, McDonald Mariga became the first East African to win the UEFA Champions League trophy when playing for Inter Milan of Italy in 2010. Mariga, who retired from football and has ventured into the murky waters of politics, put Kenya in the annals of Champions League history as he gave his best on the football pitch.

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Daniel Komen is the only man in the world to have run two miles under eight minutes in 1998.

In the film industry that holds the attention and interest of an audience by giving pleasure, Lupita Nyong’o won an Oscar award in 2013 for her supporting role in the movie 12 Years a Slave.

In the film that earned her international stardom, Lupita played the role of Patsey, a woman who was known to pick more than 500 pounds of cotton a day. She has also made a name in the fashion industry.

For Kenya, marathon is not only on the pitch, as Maliha Mohammed, 36, broke the Guinness World Record for the longest cooking expedition.

The chef from Mombasa broke the marathon cooking record set by Rickey Lumpking from the US in 2018 by cooking non-stop 400 local and international recipes for 75 hours. Rickey had cooked for 68:30:01.

In education sector, Peter Mokaya Tabichi, a science teacher and Franciscan friar at the Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School won the 2019 Global Teacher Prize; an award that saw him appointed as a Champion for Children in Conflict and Crisis.

Tabichi, who gives 80 per cent of his monthly salary to help the poor, gave a special address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month. Away from individuals, Safaricom’s M-Pesa mobile service innovation launched in March 2007 is now being used globally.

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